Archive for the 'Action' Category

Aug

Comments Off on Mind Ripper

Mind Ripper
1995 – R – 94 Minutes – Warner Home Video
Starring Lance Henriksen, Giovanni Ribisi, John Diehl – Directed by Joe Gayton

Did you know that there is actually a third movie in The Hills Have Eyes series? I’m not talking about any of the remakes, but rather a movie from the early 90’s called Mind Ripper and why they decided to call it that instead The Hills Have Eyes Part 3, I don’t know. Although after seeing it, maybe they were too ashamed to attach the franchise’s name to it, but not too ashamed to attach Wes Craven’s name to it. In fact, his name is right on the box as “Wes Craven Presents,” which I’m guessing is only because his son Jonathan Craven wrote it.

So where does Mind Ripper fit in with the other two The Hills Have Eyes films? Well, it doesn’t really. It’s more of an in-name only kind of tie in. Oh, it does take place in the desert, but aside from that, the plot is a ‘genetic experiment gone awry’ that low budget b-movies in the 90’s seemed to love so much. I could spend all day listing those movies and talking about how awful and full of holes those plots are, but let’s stay focused and talk about Mind Ripper.

The movie starts and right away some poor sap already wants out of the movie as a team of scientists in an underground lab, called Gentec, find his mangled body. Leading this estranged crew of nerds is Stockton, played by Lance Henriksen! I think it’s safe to assume that Lance is only appearing as a favor to Wes. Since his body is on their turf, he graciously volunteered himself to be their test subject. As the scientists race to save the quickly dying stranger’s life, Stockton gives him a shot of something he had been working on. It’s experimental, it’s dangerous, but it’s the only thing that could save the young man’s life. I’m sure the FDA or military would allow human testing on serum that is still in the development stage. Eh, what could go wrong?

mr_2It’s now six months later and folks at Gentec have been using the stranger as a lab rat and now call him Thor. I know what we’re all thinking, but that crossover isn’t happening. Remember earlier when I said the 90’s loved to use this ‘genetic experiment gone wrong’ plot? Well part of that was to load it up with the most stock, one dimensional characters in matching jumpsuits it can find. Leading the group is Alex, who is so secretly (but it’s not really a secret) evil, he should be twirling a mustache and laughing whenever lightning strikes. Of course there is also the fat slob Larry, the pervy tech dude Rob and the hot tough chick that is also a scientist, Joanne. From here, you can already guess how it’s going to play out for each one these characters.

Having left that project three months prior, Stockton is now trying to rebond with his daughter Wendy and her oversexed boyfriend Mark, who reeks vaguely like a Baldwin. Mark is the kind of guy who always has that look on his face like everything is bulls**t and has a double entendre for anything anyone says. This is the kind of character a movie can’t kill sooner and horrible enough. Also tagging along is Stockton’s cliched 90’s son (you know, the kind that hates authorities and his parents for no reason) Scott played by Giovanni Ribisi in his first movie role! Tough break kid. We all gotta start somewhere, but I heard there is this little World War II picture from some guy named Steven Spielberg… he may have a role for ya.

Scott spends most of his time smoking cigarettes and listening to his Walkman, because he’s full of angst and you just wouldn’t understand! Naturally, he doesn’t want to go on a camping trip with the rest of his family, but luckily for him, Stockton is called back to the lab since Thor is having seizures, thus having to cancel the camping trip. But work be damned! Stockton decides to bring his family… and Mark… along, because if there is any place in the world that can bring families closer together, it’s restricted secret genetic research labs.

mr_3Before Stockton can arrive, Thor’s seizures get worse and the team suits up in hazmat gear and tries to save him, but fail and he dies on the operating table… and then the team removes their hazmat gear, which leads me to believe that they are immune to all known and unknown diseases! Or… it’s lousy screenwriting. Speaking of, it wouldn’t be a failed genetic research movie if the test subject didn’t come back to life and slaughter all but Alex, Rob and Joanne. It’s here where Alex is revealed to be evil, which doesn’t come as a surprise, just as Thor captures him. Thor is looking rather sweaty and puking up weird egg-snake looking things, as he tells Alex that he is dying (didn’t he already die?) and needs brain juice to survive and then proceeds to suck out Alex’s brain with his tongue, which is now about two feet longer and has this little straw spike at the end of it. Maybe that was Alex’s goal all along: to infect random people so they mutate and their tongues turn in to straw spikes, which he can then market as the ultimate party accessory! Straw Spike!

Stockton now arriving, tells his kids to wait at the plane they arrived in, but do you think they listen? So screw it, everyone pile inside the super secret bunker that we somehow were able to get in to. Apparently they don’t delete the access codes of former employees. Talk about a overlooked flaw in your security system. But are you surprised? Thor is running around the airduct like a kid in a McDonald’s play pen! Rob and Joanne are trying to elude Thor in a room labeled with toxic waste warnings. The best thing about this room is that Nickelodeon must have designed this place, since leaky toxic waste barrels are insecurely placed at the top of a steep slope that leads right to the door. So what the hell is the point of that room? Or this scene? Finally, Thor happens to capture Rob, who just accidentally got his toe nail ripped off in what is honestly one of the most cringe worthy scenes I’ve ever seen, and then eats his brains.

As Stockton ventures off to find the other scientists, Thor tracks down his kids and nearly kills Scott, until Stockton tackles him, but he’s easily muscled down, beat senseless and left for dead. Yeah, great family and friends you have there. And now this is when the movie really becomes the ‘genetic experiment gone wrong’ movie, as Scott, Mark, Wendy and Joanne spend the remaining duration of the film trying to survive and giving each other pep talks about surviving, while giving exposition. A lot of these kinds of films seemed to do this after Aliens. I’ll give you one guess as to what they could possibly be doing with that serum at the research lab.

mr_4If you guessed ‘to make super soldiers’… DUH!

Nothing else to do now except come up with some lame brain plan, like leaving a trail of brains (oh yeah, there are a bunch of brains laying around… it’s a lab) to a freezer. Can’t say I’m surprised it it worked, because I’m not. Thor isn’t the brightest star in the galaxy, if you know what I’m saying. He’s an idiot. A buffoon. That is what I’m saying. He may be as dumb as a jar of melted molasses, but he sure is strong as he starts to smash his way out of the freezer as the group finds Stockton alive and they make their daring escape… or do they?!

Yeah, it’s that kind of ending where you think the villain is dead and they will escape and the he pops up and they have to kill him and escape again… repeat this several times.

I’m kinda in the middle of the road on this one. On one part, the cast is pulling in rather solid performances. Lance Henriksen is always great, regardless of how goofy the content in the movie is. John Diehl, who played Alex, really plays up the spineless villain, as he does in a lot of movies that he’s in. However, we don’t really spend too much time with these people to really get to know them. A detail about why they are the way they are is usually glossed over and explained in a sentence. And those we do spend time with, like Mark and Scott, we don’t really care for. Again, having some backstory could have made them more sympathetic… except for Mark. I do like the mystery of who Thor was before he was experimented on, but not much is hinted at or brought up, so you wouldn’t really think about it as a casual viewer. Although the visuals are pretty great, giving you some special effects that will make you squirm, the plot is old and tiring, offering nothing new or interesting. After about twenty minutes when you realize what kind of movie this actually is, you’ll find yourself waiting for the characters to die rather than be involved in what’s happening in the story.

Mind Ripper
Not a bad first attempt for Jonathan Craven, so surely his next attempt will be better… what was it? The Hills Have Eyes 2 remake? That pile of garbage that was only made to capitalize on the success of the original film’s remake? Ugh! Thank goodness he hasn’t written anything since… yet.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Super duper ultra to the max secret lab!
  • You’ll wish this super soldier was the Reb Brown Captain America.
  • Family death-cation.
  • Toenail removal.
  • Gonna eat your brains and gain your knowledge.
  • Chill out, Thor… in the freezer!
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Plenty of sucking brains out of eyeballs, but that toenail scene… yeesh!

3

blood

BREASTS

Joanne graces the screen with some sidebood and cleavage.

5

beast

BEASTS

Thor is a force of nature that can dominate his prey and overpower them… too bad he’s easily bamboozled and pushed over.

5 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer!

trailers

dripper
Jul

Comments Off on Captain America (1979)

Captain America
1979 – TV Movie – 90 Minutes – Shout! Factory
Starring Reb Brown, Len Birman, Steve Forrest – Directed by Rod Holcomb

Captain America is the prime example of a superhero movie. He has a neat uniform that represents what he stands for, his weapon is cool, he has super strength and speed and to top it off, he’s chock full of American pride. His origins come from the heart, a weakling who wants to go to war to stand up against the Nazis and after a successful superhero experiment, he’s socking Hitler right in the kisser. All the ingredients for a top notch superhero flick. To play the star spangled hero, let’s get Reb Brown; the guy who would later star in the MST3K riffed Space Mutiny and a couple of Bruno Mattei ripoff-sploitation films, like Strike Commando and Robowar. And who else fits the bill better? He’s the blonde hair, blue eyed beefcake best known for shrieking at the top of his lungs while waving a machine gun around and beating the snot out of terrorists, so who else would be a better candidate for the USA’s all American superhero?

In 1979, Marvel would unleash upon the world the made for TV Captain America movie. With everything I talked about above, this movie is going to blow people away!

Nah, just toss all of that out the window.

Well then, how else would you open a Captain America movie, but with him leisurely cruising in a panel van, kicking it back while a mellow tune toots over the footage. What, you think an opening at a heated battle during WWII is action heavy? And this is how we introduce the patriotic Steve Rogers, who in this case is a former marine who is living in his van, traveling the states and finding out who he really is. In other words, Captain America is a hippie. We learn all of this as he talks to his surfer friend about meeting up with his friend Jeff who is in need of help and receiving a letter from a man named Simon Mills who wants to speak with him about his late father’s work. So much action happening in the first several minutes, it’s impossible to take it all in! Slow down, movie!

ca_2But Steve encounters some trouble on the way to his friend’s. Turns out, some thugs are after Steve, as they spray down a curvy road alongside a cliff with oil and do you think Steve spots this obvious trap? Of course not, because that would make the villains look incompetent, which surely they aren’t. Ahem. Since black oil in the bright California sun camouflages in so well with grey pavement, Steve falls prey to their trap and rolls his sweet set of wheels down the cliff, but emerges from the wreckage unharmed… except for a slight tear in his polo! Curse these evil-doers! Just who are they and what do they want with Steve? My guess would be to rid the world of horrific panel vans.

Steve literally walks it off and chalks it up to being an accident and meets up with Dr. Mills who tells Steve all about his father’s last project; FLAG. Full Latent Ability Gain. Yup, cause Super-Soldier Serum was too obvious and this movie needed something that was a little more vague. Although all the test subjects who have been injected with FLAG do gain powers, they don’t live too much longer afterwards. And you thought irritable bowels was an unfortunate side effect. It turns out that Steve’s father created the serum from his own DNA, so they believe Steve would be able to harness the abilities without, you know, the side effect of death. Does our patriotic marine step up to his calling? No. Instead, he whines and tells them he doesn’t want to report in to anyone and wants to lay low, kick back and discover who he really is. Our hero. The few, the proud… the puss.

Moving on with his life, Steve finally goes off to see his friend Jeff, who has just been murdered. Steve seems to be having a rough day. Meanwhile elsewhere, a black limo pulls up to an oil company and a man in a black suit gets out before looking around and walks into the building with a brisk, but relaxed pace. Why did I just describe that to you? Because they show every second of it, so it must be important! Inside, we learn that this man is named Brackett, an evil oil business tycoon (Seriously, is there ever a good one?) who is looking for some microfilm in order to complete building a neutron bomb that Jeff was working on with Brackett’s evil scientist in order to hold the city ransom so he can steal gold… ? I don’t know, it’s kind of a stupid plan. His henchman accidentally killed Jeff while interrogating him about the microfilm, but saw Steve at the scene. Perhaps he knows something? So wait, then why did we try to kill him? Before we even knew that he knew Jeff?

Well good thing Steve managed to survive, so now the villains can find out what he knows. Brackett calls him up, telling him he’s a friend and wants to meet up to tell him about what really happened to Jeff. Steve, of course, walks into this trap head first and what’s the first thing these thugs that are supposed to interrogate Steve do? Shoot at him, driving Steve off a cliff on his motorbike. I guess their policy is shoot first, ask questions later. And what is it about cliffs that attract Steve? It’s becoming a Looney Tunes cartoon at this point, except instead of turning into a xylophone, Steve is gravely injured and there is only one way to save him; inject him with the FLAG serum.

So now there are cool scenes of Steve saving people or accidentally and hysterically breaking things, realizing his full potential and newfound powers, right? Nope. He lays in bed and whines about how they took away his right and he doesn’t want these powers, denying Dr. Mills any testing. The visions of Cap standing triumphantly over Red Skull at dawn with the sun to his back as the American flag flaps in the wind comes to mind.

ca_3Whatever, at least the movie is going to force something to happen at this point. Even the filmmakers realized nothing has actually happened. Steve is kidnapped from the hospital by Brackett’s henchmen and taken to a meat packing plant, because… who cares. At least the movie seems to be setting up an action piece! The henchman outright start demanding for Steve to hand over the microfilm… which he still has no idea about… and if he doesn’t, well one of them reminds him what happened to Jeff.

“He got cute and hid the pictures. Then he got DEAD.”

Threatening words that anger Steve, so he breaks free and heroically defeats his captors by hurling large hunks of meat on them and then calling the proper authorities! Man, does this action ever let up!? There is no way they can top it, so let this mark the film’s only fight scene (or at least what passes for one here)! Steve decides that he should talk to Simon about his new powers, which they discuss along with his father’s secret identity as Captain America; a nickname given to him by those ridiculing him for standing up to for the little guy and fighting crime. Holy crap, Steve’s dad sounds awesome. He was a scientist that created a serum that gave him super powers and so he used it to fight crime… why the hell isn’t the movie about this guy?

Just in case Steve changed his mind about the whole “hero” thing, Simon prepared him a new panel van equipped with all kinds of gadgets that are never explained and a secret rocket bike hidden inside. But that’s not all! Made from the sturdiest materials on Earth, he gives Steve the trademark Captain America shield, representing the colors of the country; red, transparent and blue! Wait, is that right? Oh and cherish this moment where they test out the shield by tossing the flimsy thing into the air as it boomerangs back, because he never throws it again.

But Brackett has had enough. Kidnapping some of their female friends, one being Jeff’s daughter, which he should have done this long ago, who hands over the microfilm (oh yeah, there are a couple females in this movie, but they don’t do anything), he finally completes his neutron bomb and makes his demands known to Steve and Simon or else he will detonate it.

“But why? Bracket is no mad dog killer, he is after something.” – Actual words spoken by Simon.

Using his super hearing, Steve overhears some clues to Brackett’s location and decides to FINALLY do something with his powers and take action. Simon thinks Steve should use a disguise and presents to him what looks like a rejected Evil Knievel (even complete with a silly motorcycle helmet) costume based off one of his sketches. So finally at the 74 MINUTE mark, Captain America arrives! I know a lot of super hero movies wait until about 45 minutes or so to show their heroes, but those are 2 hour movies. This film barely makes 90 minutes. So, we don’t even see the titular hero until the final 15 minutes, which he’s not even in costume for the entire duration of.

So he rescues the girls after spraying down some security guards with oil (yeah not henchmen, but some minimum wage security guards just doing their jobs) and unravels the whole plot, which I kinda forgot at this point, because the stupid soaked deep into my brain. However, they still need to deal with Brackett, who has now rigged a device up to his heart so that if he dies, the neutron bomb explodes. Your move, Cap!

ca_4Transporting the bomb on a semi, Brackett has no idea Steve is hot on his tail, so now we get to see them duke it out or Cap stops the truck in a real heroic and tough way! Oh, why am I getting all of our hopes up. Of course he doesn’t. He bends the exhaust pipe of the truck into the trailer in order to knock out Brackett, but what Steve’s thick skull doesn’t know is that this causes humans to asphyxiate and die. Brackett passes out unconscious and the bomb will go off if he dies, so how does Steve resolve it? Does he punch his heart so hard, it beats faster? Don’t we all wish. So, get this… he calls Simon to come administer first aid to Brackett since Steve is untrained in that area. This scene actually goes on for a few minutes. This is… what the… I can’t. I can’t.

They keep him from dying, disarm the bomb and save the day… off camera, of course. We just see the exposition in a dialogue scene and Steve rocking duds that look identical (minus the motorcycle helmet) to the actual comic book version of Captain America, thus accepting his powers and taking on his father’s legacy.

So to reiterate, your source material consists of a man with great powers, who is brave and courageous, fighting Nazi’s during the second the World War, but for whatever reason that isn’t good enough?! No instead, we get a Captain America, in a much stupider looking outfit mind you, who whines and complains and doesn’t want to use his powers?! In fact, he never throws a single punch, his signature shield or really anything that Captain America is known for! Come to think of it, a majority of scenes are filler where nothing is happening or Steve is just cruising in his van. I’m sorry, but HOW do you f*#@ this up? I understand the 70’s were a different time and budgets were lower and special effects were much more difficult to pull off (especially for a superhero movie), but the Hulk series was fairly close to its source material, so why not Cap?

And Reb, what did they do to you, man? Sure this was before his action movie star days, but when you cast a guy like Reb Brown, you should just let him do his thing. His acting range goes from falling asleep to getting sleepy. Not the most versatile range of acting. They would have been better off actually choreographing fight scenes and letting the dude throw people around and toss the shield, kinda like CAPTAIN AMERICA! THE MOVIE YOUR FILM IS ABOUT! Maybe they thought a guy beating up evildoers was too violent. I mean, they couldn’t get the costume right until the end, threatening us with a sequel.

Captain AmericaWith the lack of faithful character adaptation, boring score, sleepwalking performances and lack of any action makes this a bad, cheesy flick to even sit through. Even for the 70’s this film is too mellow. If you’re trying to fall asleep, I highly recommend it. I suppose we should Thank Shout! Factory for bringing this to DVD, but why should we. Otherwise, do your country a fair service and skip Captain America. But that sequel… you don’t think… they wouldn’t… did they?

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Reb Brown. Sigh, I know. I should be more excited.
  • Rip roaring panel van.
  • Captain Whiny-baby.
  • An evil plan! Stupid, but evil!
  • Cliff-diving.
  • Beat by meat.
  • Cap’s durable, light weight recyclable plastic shield!
  • Um, isn’t there a superhero in this movie?
  • Oil change.
  • Semi-serious heart attack.
totals

1

blood

BLOOD

With no fight scenes, I’m giving a point for the ripped polo.

1

blood

BREASTS

There was some cleavage, I think, but who cares.

4

beast

BEASTS

Brackett’s no mad dog killer and Reb is unfortunately underplayed as Cap due to a terrible script.

2 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the TV Spot!

trailers

dripper
May

Comments Off on Angry Nazi Zombies

Angry Nazi Zombies
2014 – Not Rated – Revolver
Starring Tina Barnes, Paul Kelleher, Cy Henty – Directed by Jim Eaves, Pat Higgins and Alan Ronald

Angry Nazi Zombies. There’s a title that puts a movie in your head, much like something such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre. However, you’d be lead slightly astray and if you’re like me, you thought maybe it was along the lines of Dead Snow or Shock Waves, but you’d be way off. It’s actually an anthology featuring three thirty minute segments all set in England during World War II. So, do each of the segments contain zombies? Ehh, kinda. The first segment does, the second is more of a ghost story and the last is a creature feature. Ok, so the title is slightly misleading that way, but marketable since zombies are what the kids consider to be hip and when you say Angry Nazi Zombies out loud, it’s sure to grab attention.

Nazis and zombies have always been like chocolate and peanut butter; they go well together and offers one a variety of horror themed elements to exploit. How well does Angry Nazi Zombies pull it off? Well, clearly that’s what we are going to talk about. Sheesh.

nza_2Unlike some of the previously mentioned anthologies, there is no narrative tale that binds these stories stories together. Instead, we dive head first into the segment “Medal of Horror,” which I have to admit is a clever name and sports a stylish title card ala brand label on a bottle of whiskey. A soldier named George who writes those, “sorry about your loss” letters watches a sexy burlesque dancer, played by real life burlesque dancer Jeanie Wishes (check her out on the Facebook). She falls in love with George and the two have a night of fiery, passionate love, but no love for us, since her bosom is always covered up by his hands. Lucky hands! But you know how it is; she starts getting all clingy and you have to fake your death and write a grief letter using your honed skills. As fate would have it, her pappy happens to be a General and knows about his dirty little lie and sends George on a suicide mission to rescue his daughter who has been kidnapped by Jezebel of the SS! Wow, what a string of coincidences. As a character, George is pretty unlikable, seeing as he’s a sniveling coward, bailing on those who need his help and whimpering along the way. In fact, I believe all of his battles, complete with the most unnecessary slo-mo, and his encounters with the undead (I think a whole two or three zombies), he manages to escape through dumb luck. He even defeats his villains through sheer, blind luck, but as fate as been following him and his coward ways, it ends on a “what goes around comes around” note and justifiably so. The short does jump in between serious and comedic tones, which can be jarring since it’s not well transitioned, but when it does either, it does them well.

Moving along, we’re thrown into the supernatural in “Harriet’s War.” A young, attractive paranormal investigator named Harriet (I hope you picked that up from the title) travels to the podunk village Chapelton to investigate a bizarre murder, where the victims are covered in carved swastikas. And you thought getting a rash was bad! Harriet is likable and has that dry, British charm we come to think of. Plus, she is mighty cute, have I mentioned that? The victim was a young man of a grieving housewife who also lost her husband in the war and his girlfriend disappeared during the murder. However during a town meeting, to which the priest of the village openly despises Harriet, she turns up covered in swastikas. Harriet teams up with the local constable in order to solve this crime, which will bring them back to where they started… Using all her gadgets that look like proto-Ghostbusters designs, she tracks down the supernatural element responsible for the killings. It’s quirky, it’s silly and I want to see it in syndication, dammit!

nza_3They certainly didn’t save the best for last. For the curtains, we have “Devils of the Blitz.” As Ruth and her mother take shelter from a bombing in their wicked step father’s home, we see cuts to Ruth’s brother Graham at war, who just lost his best friend in combat, hiding from a Nazi soldier. But you can’t hide forever, as Graham is found by the soldier and the two duke it out. But suddenly to his rescue, a weird demon puppet thing! What? I’m not kidding. This thing looks like it was bought last minute at a Halloween store. I know these are extremely low budget films, but… I had to pause the movie and busted out laughing. It makes the imp from Sorority Babes in the Slime Bowl-O-Rama look well made. Believe it or not, this little toy chews off Graham’s face and he wakes in a hospital dressed like Darkman, his whole face wrapped in bandages. He begins seeing visions of his dead friend who tells him to take the chainsaw that is for whatever reason there in that hospital (and time period) and go nuts! Meanwhile, Ruth now not only has to deal with that douche of a step dad, but a hand puppet imp as well!

Which leads us to following complaint. While the first two segments are very well acted and shot and have decent effects, this is where the third seems to suffer, although I will say it is acted very well. The story is quite boring and I found myself drifting in and out of attention, but maybe it was due to the fact that it looked like it was shot on Mini-DV, which I don’t have a problem with, but it was boring to look at and the conversations between the family was the same stuff you’ve heard before in a drama and the sound quality seems flat. All dialogue and sound effects sound at the same level and nothing sticks out about this segment. Until you see the rubber demon puppet. That guy is bananas.

nza_4You know, even if they stress the word “zombie” in the title, I’m glad there are barely any zombies in it. You can count the number of zombies in this film on one hand. Given that the film market is oversaturated with zombie films, Angry Nazi Zombies could have suffered heavily from the “zombie-itus” and became obscured in the diarreha sea of crappy direct to video zombie movies, so it was a good move to make it an anthology with different ideas of what zombies are, even if the quality of stories were a mixed bag. Anthologies have made a bit of a resurgence in the past few years after successes with films like The ABC’s of Death and V/H/S or even Trick ‘R’ Treat if we want to go a little earlier than that and it’s nice to see that they can still be done with strong stories.

The quality of the segments seems to deteriorate as the film goes on. While I felt the first film was the strongest and certainly the most beautifully shot, what with great angles and the bar scene is lit wonderfully. I felt the characters were well developed, as unlikable as George was and at first it chugs along (but not unbearably so), but when it picks up, it throws you into all kinds of well directed action. The second segment sort of plays out like a CW supernatural show and given how this segment ends, I wanted to tune in to the next episode. I feel it is the best acted of the three and has some humor in it and I caught myself chuckling more than a few times and it’s, for lack of a better word, fun. The third segment, however, feels like a missed opportunity. They set up this character with a tragic origin that leaves him disfigured and seeing the ghost of his dead best friend warning him of end times, so he grabs a chainsaw and goes on a demon killing rampage, but instead we get the story of his family bickering at thome. Why did we not get that other movie? It would have been so entertaining and probably the fan favorite of the three, but no.

Angry Nazi Zombies
Overall, you may want to goosestep over to your video store (or Amazon) and pick up a copy. especially if you are fan of low budget, indie cinema, like myself. Although the DVD is bare (no extras, no commentaries, nada), it helps support and it’s not a bad film. The theme of the anthology, Britain during WWII, was a brilliant touch and the fact that it isn’t flooded with your typical zombies, makes this a fresh film, both in the zombie genre and anthologies. Now if you’ll excuse me, I hear a puppet demon in my basement.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Angry? Sure. Nazis? Most definitely. Nazis? Eh, sorta.
  • Jeanie out of the bottle!
  • Zombie vs. zombie martial arts.
  • Harriet the Ghostbuster, this Fall on CW.
  • Rubber puppet demon monster!
totals

6

blood

BLOOD

Very sparingly, mostly showing injuries, but if the final segment did something write, it was give us chewed up faces.

5

blood

BREASTS

George’s hand cover’s up Jeanies pair, but we do get some elegant side boob.

5

beast

BEASTS

Nazis are always terrifying… until a rubber puppet gets thrown into the mix. No, I won’t let that go.

5.3 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer!

trailers

dripper
Apr

Comments Off on Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except

Thou Shall Not Kill... Except
1985 – Unrated – Synapse Films
Starring Robert Rickman, Sam Raimi – Directed by Josh Becker

Very few films can take two completely opposing ideas, put them together and make them work. Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except (also called Stryker’s War) is one of those films. It’s one part Vietnam War, one part Manson Family, all bottled up in one great revenge flick left on the shelf to ferment over time and it aged marvelously, fine enough for you to sip on or share with your friends. It’s wild and perhaps a bit unruly, but it never gets completely out of control. This is an interesting concept, to say the least. It’s one that easily could not have worked, but when you have the crew responsible for The Evil Dead behind it, rest assured you’re in capable hands to mix the mad and the macabre with outrageous, zany antics.

Deep in the jungles of Michigan, I mean… Vietnam, Sgt. Stryker leads his mean, the brute Sgt. Walker, the green 2nd Lt. Dave Miller and the wisecracking Lt. Cpt. Tyler and a bunch of other guys without names through hazardous enemy territory. Without warning, the soldiers are ambushed (I guess that’s why it’s called an ambush)! Most of the men are killed, except our aforementioned cast, and Stryker is shot in the leg, forever disabling him with a bum leg. He returns home to make walking with a cane look cool way before Dr. House did and to start his life over again in his secluded creep cabin, where he spends most of his time drinking whiskey with his dog… Whiskey. That is, until his high school sweetie Sally is asking her grandfather, who visits Stryker often, about him. He wants her, she wants him, but he’s too stubborn because of his injury and thinks she’s only taking pity on him. You know the story. Eventually, he gives in and goes out on a date with her and it’s like old times and the two reconnect, like they were never distant. However, Sally cuts the date short because of work (always seems like that’s the case, right fellas?) and they plan a second date. But before she can meet Stryker for that rendezvous, she and grandpa has some uninvited guests over for dinner…

tsnk_2Shortly, his rowdy friends arrive from Vietnam (who are most certainly ready for some football) and visit Stryker at his cabin. The old unit catches up by drinking some beers at a local bar and defending the bar maiden from a biker gang in what looks like a well choreographed fight scene, but not the most graceful, as the actors almost fall over their own kicks and punches that sounds like someone is smacking an empty plastic jug against a side of meat… in a can (if any of that makes sense). Then again, they just finished drinking Nick Nolte levels of alcohol and knowing this crew’s filming methods, it’s very possible that the actors were actually drunk. Once that’s done, they drink some more and pass out, then drink some more and shoot at an old shed with guns. So, basically drinking. They drink. A lot.

Stryker believes Sally is standing him up once it’s evident (unbeknownst to Stryker) that she won’t be showing up, but once his dog Whiskey goes missing, the gang splits up and searches for him and stumbling upon Sally’s uninvited dinner guests… a blood thirsty cult led by Sam Raimi in a Manson wig and carrying a pirate sword! But these folks are no laughing matter, regardless of Sam Raimi’s scenery chewing. Having taken the entire town hostage (or at least a good chunk of them), killed off the police force (the whole one guy), barbecuing poor ol’ Whiskey (insert cooking with whiskey joke here) and having kidnapped and torturing Sally, things are serious or as Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys would say, “S**t just got real!” They rally back at Stryker’s love shack and arm themselves, starting yet another militia in the state of Michigan.

tsnk_3Confronting the cult and freeing the townspeople, Stryker and his old unit go to war with the b-movie equivalent of the Manson family. Battle ensues with guns, knives, sharp sticks… literally. All sorts of things are used for weapons in the final twenty minutes, which serves as one large fight. Luckily, it never feels like it’s dragging out, mostly due to some satisfying, over the top style kills, as the cult is impaled by tree limbs, multiple garden instruments, swords or blown to bits in a satisfying manner as Stryker and his men blast these scumbags down with shotguns. Although never reaching extreme moments in gross out gore, quite a lot of blood is spilled as the unnamed cult leader played by Sam Raimi impales one of his own followers for his motorcycle to flee and quickly becoming lost in the forest maze of trees. But these are Stryker’s woods… he knows them like the back of his hand. Hell, this is his backyard and he’s going to get revenge for Sally and Whiskey!

Finally, we get to the showdown between Stryker (who I have to say that Brian Schulz plays this roll in a charming smug kind of way) and the Charles Manson/Sam Raimi amalgamation after he wrecks his hog. Like all classic hero vs. villain fights, the odds juggle back and forth with the baddie seemingly having the upper hand and tossing out a great stinger, followed by the hero’s retort and execution…

“I am Jesus Christ!”
“No you’re not… you’re dead.”

tsnk_4Several shotgun blasts to the abdomen and an impalement on a busted dirt bike later, Stryker and crew find Sally and they all drive off triumphantly into the sunrise, accompanied by a well deserved and welcoming victory fanfare.

Don’t be fooled by Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except‘s low budget. This movie packs quite a fun punch. As I said earlier in the review, this is an interesting concept, a blend of two different ideas that could have easily not worked if it weren’t in the right hands, but luckily this was a brain child of Bruce Campbell and Josh Becker. Speaking of the Big Chin, he originally played Sgt. Stryker in the 40 minutes short (called Stryker’s War, included on the Synapse Blu-ray) and was cast to return to the role for the full length feature, but due to Bruce having recently joined the Screen Actor’s Guild, he was unable to participate in a non SAG movie. He did however provide help as an assistant sound editor, as well as allowed the crew to shoot on his own property. You can see how the role was originally written for Bruce, but Brian Schulz makes this his own without shadowing Bruce Campbell’s portrayal of the character. The man is just as charismatic as he is cocky. Sam Raimi easily steals the show with his cult leader character, chewing the scenery like Big League Chew in such a memorable way. And of course, Ted Raimi makes an appearance as a cult member in a mask and chains, cackling like a mad man in typical Ted-like fashion that you know and love.

Although the film was a low budget 16mm, Synapse has painfully restored it from the original prints, so everything looks crisp and clean. Sure, there are flaws here and there (mostly with the old stock footage), but what do you expect from a nearly thirty year old film shot on 16mm? I know I may be repeating myself here, but this film seriously looks beautiful. It’s amazing how well restored it is, with dirt and scratches cleaned up, lines sharpened, very few grainy scenes… it’s stunning and remarkable. One of the best looking older releases I have ever seen. And of course, the audio, also for being what it was, sounds terrific. Dialogue is well heard (which is a good thing, since there are no subtitles), but some of the sound effects, like the kicks and punches I mentioned earlier, sound a bit muffled, but it’s nothing to turn you off from the movie. In fact, the movie offers multiple viewings with two different, well informed and interesting commentaries. These are my favorite kind of commentaries too; small, low budget films with a cast and crew that reflect on it fondly. Just listening to them, you can tell they love it and had a blast doing it.

Thou Shall Not Kill... Except
So, fall in line, maggot! Grab your rifle and a copy of Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except and be ready, for The Blood Bath is coming!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • War is hell.
  • Dr. Stryker, MD.
  • Drink, fight, repeat.
  • Blood Bath, the cult movie Mansons.
  • Whiskey BBQ!
  • Lawn Dart Cop.
  • Hippie hunting!
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Shotguns rip apart hippie’s stomachs and plenty of ’em get impaled by various instruments.

4

blood

BREASTS

Sam squeezes Sally’s bazooms, leaving bloody handprints.

8

beast

BEASTS

I would totally join this cult, as long as they had a good 401k and benefits.

6.3 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer for “Though Shalt Not Kill… Except!

trailers

dripper
Mar

posted by admin | March 28, 2014 | Action, Bad movie, Horror movies, modern horror, Reviews by the Goon

Comments Off on Day of the Dead (2008)

Day of the Dead
2008 – R – Millennium Films
Starring Mena Suvari, Nick Cannon, Ving Rhames – Directed by Steve Miner

It’s easy to have a biased opinion on remakes these days because of the sheer volume of them. People will pass judgement without even seeing a trailer just because it’s a remake. Although we complain, we are first in line to go see them. Sure, over the past few years, remakes are more commonplace than ever, however filmmakers seem to be taking the source material more seriously while adding their own view or style to it, giving it a fresh and unique spin, so they are telling the same story without making it a carbon copy. Unfortunately that seems to be few and far between. A good majority of the time, we either get unnecessary updates that are aforementioned carbon copies or we get an insulting misrepresentation of source material, so painful it stings. And possibly the most painful of them all is Day of the Dead.

Talk about missing not only the mark, but the concept, the social satire, the amazing practical effects, the story telling, the larger than life characters, competent film making and story telling. Sure it’s common for a film maker to want to take a different approach when doing a remake (in fact, it’s something I encourage and want them to do), but there is a fine line between creativity and total stupidity. What do I mean? Do you remember how the other Dead film’s open? With interesting characters in the middle of a situation they are unaware of that they must immediately adapt to. How does this film open? With a group of four teens dancing in a missile silo playing grab arse. If there is one way to make your characters be as unrelatable as possible, it’s to have them do something that nobody can relate to. I think this concept is lost when older people are trying to write about what they think teens do now.

dotd_2Anyhow, our two main teens, Trevor and Nina, decide they’ve seen enough prepubescent groping from their friends Kyle and… nameless girl and want to head home to make whoopee in a more comfortable setting. Along the way, Kyle seems to be showing signs of a cold, you know… obvious foreshadowing, so throw out any hope for suspense. It turns out there is an outbreak of this virus all over town and the military is now blocking any way in or out. Rhodes (played by Ving Rhames, sleepwalking through this performance) heads up the roadblock and couldn’t seem more uninterested if he were trying. One thing you may notice about these soldiers is that they aren’t exactly armed, leading you to believe it’s the Reserves. This brings me to one of my biggest gripes about the film, Rhodes is seriously underwhelming and stripped of what made him a threatening menace in the original. Ving Rhames moans out every line of dialogue like he’s falling asleep and never once gives any indication that he is a force to be reckoned with, because in this film, he isn’t.

Among his squad is Sarah, who the camera is pointed at most of the time (since it’s insulting to call her our heroine), rookie Bud (who I’m sure you all remember as the intelligent zombie BUB with a military background from Romero’s original) and the increasingly annoying, false representation of a generation, one liner, cliche spewing Salazar played by Nick Cannon. Never in my life have I wanted to physically assault a character after every cocky line of dialogue spewed from their stupid face as I have Salazar. Since Sarah’s mother is sick with coincidental plot device syndrome, she and Bud take a drive to her house and along the way, they have a one on one. She tells him her gun isn’t loaded and that it’s complicated (another plot point that is never truly explained) and he tells her that he is a vegetarian (which will come back to provide the “jumping the shark” holy grail of all plot points), only to run into her brother Trevor and Nina where the mellow drama begins. Trevor holds a grudge against his sister for wanting to do something with her life and leaving and to my recollection, this is never resolved or fully explained, making it entirely pointless. Then again, I could say that about everything in this movie.

Learning that Kyle was showing the same symptoms, they all head over to his house and find his parents mutilated and report it to Rhodes while en route to get their mother to the hospital where we meet the other insult to source material, Dr. Logan, who is now suave and sleazy, rather than a burnt out scientist on the verge of losing his mind, because you know, that might have been interesting. When at the hospital, Sarah leaves her brother to look after their mother, while Rhodes then sends a team to check on Kyle’s house, but come to find out, there are three bodies instead of the reported two. Yes, in this movies, the zombies are intelligent and set traps, but that is the least of the stupidest abilities the zombies have in this movie…

dotd_3This is when things go to hell, both for the characters and for you, the viewer. All of the infected people go from catatonic to undead with super human powers! Not only are they incredibly fast and agile, they can also leap great distances and crawl on the walls and ceiling! Hmm, maybe it was a radioactive spider that bit all of them. Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting to do something different, as I stated earlier. Making changes that a pose a threat can make for the characters to develop and adjust to the situation in an interesting way and possibly provide you with something you haven’t seen before, but IT HAS TO MAKE SENSE! Other than a quick one sentence explanation that is never followed up on, it is never mentioned how this virus can give the undead abilities that are outside of normal human capabilities. If you want us to believe the creatures can do this, again, IT HAS TO MAKE SENSE in your film’s reality. If the movie hasn’t completely lost you earlier, it definitely will now.

During the undead attack, Rhodes is immediately devoured, which could be a good thing that this piss poor version of the character is done with, or it will anger you that perhaps one of the greatest antagonists in a zombie flick was portrayed against everything that made him great. Either way, he does come back undead, giving an mildly interesting chase scene with no legs, only to be comically killed off by Salazar, adding insult to injury.

A good majority of the movie is the soldiers WITHOUT WEAPONS trying to escape from the hospital and is it boring. During the escape, Bud is bit on the hand. Salazar wants to waste him, but Sarah pleads and says he can be of use until he turns, at which point, she will take care of it. After stealing Rhode’s Humvee and stopping at a gun store that somehow has fully automatic weapons, Bud turns into a zombie, but to their surprise, he’s obedient like a soldier, which I suppose is fine. But in the most idiotic of explanations as to why he isn’t trying to eat them, as Sarah says, is because he’s a vegetarian. So let me get this straight… in this backwards world, if you were a vegetarian, when turned into a zombie, you won’t crave human flesh? In this health aware world where vegetarians are pretty dominant, these zombies are supposed to be a threat? I’m sorry… I need a minute to wash my brain off all the stupid.

Trevor and Nina managed to escape to a radio station where a few other survivors are holed up and wouldn’t you know it, a few of them are hiding the fact that they are infected. The film does try to pass off some suspense here where you briefly wonder who’s infected, but then you realize it doesn’t matter since the three brief characters that have nothing to do with the plot are killed, leaving Trevor and Nina to be rescued by Sarah.

dotd_4By the way, it’s at this point I realized they’ve been calling Sarah “Corporal Cross” when it’s referenced that their family’s last name is Bowman, so… did the writer just forget this or is he as brain dead as the zombies? Speaking of, in true nature to this film, it’s never explained.

After an accident from a run in with zombie Kyle, they come across an underground bunker that just so happens to be where the scientists were developing the virus for…? There is a scene with Mad TV‘s Pat Kilbane, but he barely brushes the topic. It’s never fully explained, so who cares! We don’t need to explain anything when we have zombies! And that’s how the film treats you; as if you are stupid and they can shove zombies into something and you’ll watch it, which I guess this means we did, so joke’s on us. Touche. Anyway, while they putz around and failing to provide any exposition, zombies attack and kill Logan, which I’m sure we’re all heart broken over since he was so likable, as is Salazar (FINALLY). I really haven’t talked much about his character, other than how intolerable and irritating his “hip-teen-lingo-catch-phrase-of-the-day” dialogue is, but trust me… the less said, the better. It’s like being talked down to by an older person who is trying to relate to your generation.

So Sarah, Nina and Trevor escape and the film throws in an ineffective jump scare. Nobody cares. It’s over.

Like all uninspiring remakes, these characters can only be identified by their stereotyped character trait. The tone of the film comes off as a cheap teen slasher flick, maybe due to the fact that Steve Miner directed, whose previous works included Friday the 13th Parts 2 and 3 and Halloween: H20. And For a movie called Day of the Dead, a lot of it takes place at night, but I guess that’s just me nitpicking.

Day of the Dead feels more like a humdrum teen slasher of the post Scream era then it does your insipid cut-and-paste zombie flick. How many times are we going to see the same story about some virus spreading the infection? Why do these filmmakers feel like they need to explain everything? If you have a strong enough story and characters that we care about, details like that are left a mystery and it adds to the doomed feeling of the situation the characters are in and that’s part of what made George Romero’s movies work! If you’re going to remake one of his movies and claim you are being faithful, while putting a fresh “spin” on it, the least you could do is just that. There’s another thing that gets thrown out in the remake world too much; “putting a fresh spin on it.” When you hear that, it usually means they gave the characters cell phones and Facebook jokes in their dialogue. Updating a film is fine. That’s been done since the dawn of films, but you need to make your characters relevant to the time period and give us examples of why they work in the situation that’s going on, instead of vomiting out the same annoying, slang spewing rejects from cliched stereotypes.

Day of the Dead
Not only is this a god awful remake, but a god awful film overall with absolutely nothing good about it. I found it to be unenjoyable, even with a group of friends looking for a cheesy movie to have fun with. Everything about this film is not only a misrepresentation of its source material, but to the genre as well to the point where it feels insulting. Even the editing seems to be sped up or have frames chopped out so the zombies seem like they are more supernatural, which comes off as laughably bad (but not frustrating like Automaton Transfusion). And of course being a late 2000’s horror film, practically all of the effects are unnecessary CGI and boy, does it look terrible. I’ve seen better effects in Asylum movies. I don’t know what else to say. This movie is so awful, they couldn’t even get it released theatrically! I can only tell you that this is one of the few times I would urge someone to stay away from a film. Treat it like a zombie outbreak; get out of there and stay away from this stinker as far as possible!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Drinking game… just drink because you are watching this train wreck.
  • I didn’t know it was possible to make Ving Rhames look like Steve Urkel.
  • Nick Cannon’s one liners.
  • No brains, I’m a vegan.
  • Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Zombie!
  • Dr. Douche.
  • If you haven’t beat yourself senseless while watching this movie, you are a brave soul.
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

Regardless of the horrendous CG gore, it’s still pretty tame by today’s standards.

0

blood

BREASTS

As if this film would give you even one second of something to look at.

3

beast

BEASTS

You think super ability zombies would be scary, but no. Under played and laughably stupid.

2.6 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the entire movie… if you you don’t want any brain cells!

trailers

dripper

About the Highway

Lost Highway is your satirical detour down the twisted back roads of b-movies and cult films reviews. learn more >>